Robert Ford came to 610 Sports Radio in 2009 as the station’s “Royals Insider.” He currently serves as the pre and post game show host for Royals Broadcasts on 610. The Syracuse graduate has been around professional baseball as a reporter and broadcaster for over a decade.
Royals Spring Training Report for Sat, 3/31
by Robert Ford,posted Mar 31 2012 11:14PM
What follows are a handful of things Royals fans can – and should – keep an eye on as the year progresses.
Watch Danny Duffy’s head. When his delivery gets out of sync, it’s often because he’s jerking his head too far back and arching his back too much. When Duffy’s delivery is in sync, his head doesn’t move quite as much. If Duffy can consistently repeat his delivery, he will have a solid year in the Royals rotation.
Watch Luke Hochevar’s changeup. Hochevar has an excellent fastball, cut fastball, slider and curveball, but all of those pitches are hard, with the exception of the curveball, which is a difficult pitch to throw consistently for strikes. A changeup gives Hochevar another pitch he can throw to both sides of the plate that can keep hitters off his harder pitches. Hochevar’s tried to throw a changeup before, but with limited success. Hochevar feels he’s finally found a changeup grip that works for him (a grip that’s in between a circle-change grip and a palmball grip) and the results this spring have been encouraging.
Watch how much Humberto Quintero moves behind the plate. Quintero has been working diligently to learn the Royals pitching staff since coming over in a trade from the Astros on March 20th. Quintero told me that when he’s comfortable with a pitcher he’s very “quiet” behind the plate and doesn’t move as much before the pitch. However, when Quintero’s not as certain about a pitcher’s stuff, he moves around more behind the plate. The pitchers seem to be getting along well with Quintero and, generally speaking, pitchers prefer a “quiet” catcher; a catcher who’s always moving makes it harder for the pitcher to focus on his target.
Watch Lorenzo Cain’s fly balls. Cain’s defense in centerfield has never been much of an issue, but many have wondered whether Cain would be an effective offensive player at the Major League level. Cain’s had an excellent spring training at the plate but, one thing I’ve noticed is his propensity for fly balls. Cain has a bit of an uppercut to his swing, which helps generate power, but also generates a lot of balls in the air that are relatively easy plays for outfielders. With Cain’s speed, you’d like to see him hit a few more balls on the ground, especially at Kauffman Stadium and especially when he’s slumping, which has yet to happen this spring.